Words and pics: Rich Norman
The Crye Precision Halfjak is a specialist bit of kit. So specialist, in fact, that I know very few people who own one.
When dropping a not inconsiderable sum on a jacket, many people look for a multirole item. Something that’s equally at home in the pub as it is in the woods, for instance.
The Halfjak is not that jacket.
Nevertheless, it’s really impressed me and has made me want to get my own; this review sample being provided on loan by Tactical Optician (thanks Andy!)
So what is a Halfjak? As the name suggests it’s a ‘half jacket’. A lot like a viper hood, it covers head, shoulders, arms, back (or small pack) and upper chest. So, rather than carrying the additional bulk of an outsized jacket to wear over your PC during inactive periods, the Halfjak strips things down to the bare essentials; while also allowing you to access your mags etc.
Crye’s user guide offers up a load of supplementary information and uses for the Halfjak, but here I’ll focus on the format and features of the garment itself.
The Halfjak presents as a durable water repellant-coated, ripstop nylon-shelled, synthetic-insulated half-jacket.
The durable water repellent (DWR) is a spray-on surface modifier, which must be refreshed regularly. While it is active, it will encourage light precipitation to bead off the jacket, until it inevitably wets-out.
This isn’t billed as a waterproof jacket. It can’t be expected to offer anything other than light resistance to rain. That said, the insulation will protect you from the worst in a torrent, because its insulation properties remain active when wet – unlike goose down.
It’s difficult to estimate the insulation fill, but it seems to deliver an Atom LT level of warmth when used in conjunction with a PC.
Much like the Atom LT this isn’t a jacket that’s going to take much abuse. Despite the ripstop grid, its nylon shell is thin and unprotected but also fairly wind resistant. That said, breathability is decent.
The jacket’s insulation runs throughout the arms, shoulders, chest and upper back. The lower back and helmet compatible stowaway hood are uninsulated, but feature the same wind resistant shell as the rest of the item.
Donning and doffing is easy, even when wearing a PC or chest rig. The Halfjak features a full length zip and a number of hooks along its hem, which secure the item to PALS channels at your sides.
The zip is a slick, robust YKK Vislon in tan. The zip pull is a simple knotted paracord affair in coyote brown. A baffle lies inside the zip and a chin guard is utilised at the collar, which does a good job of keeping zip teeth away from a beard. The collar itself is unlined.
As well as hooks at the hem, the Halfjak also features cord locs for girth adjustment.
The wrist cuffs are simple – elasticated:
One slight disappointment with the Halfjak is the mechanism by which the hood stows in the collar. It’s kept tidied away by three small, fiddly Velcro swatches.
On high end outdoor gear its more common nowadays to employ a micro zip for this task. This delivers little bulk and is more user friendly than Crye’s solution, which is merely adequate.
The hood is enormous, but does feature an adjuster.
The shoulders are raglan cut for mobility and the sleeves feature Crye’s signature two-bar Velcro. Many complain about this arrangement, but bifurcating the Velcro cuts bulk and makes the item more packable.
On the inside of the item, there’s a hanging loop and a stash pocket. The latter is useful to bundle-up and compress the Halfjak prior to packing it away in the stuff-sac provided (which is of very nice softshell and mesh construction).
As usual with Crye, the Halfjak is true to size. If you normally wear large in tops, get a large Halfjak.
Want more Crye reviews? You can find a whole list of them here. The list is updated as more reviews are published.